The tweleve days of christmas


#1

I heard this story on the radio a few days ago. and i just thought i’ll share this amazing story about what i “use” to think was a very annoying song. the 12 days of christmas song is a Christian instruction dating to the 16th century religious wars in England, with hidden references to the basic teachings of the Faith. They contend that it was a mnemonic device to teach the catechism to youngsters. The “true love” mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The “me” who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the “days” represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn.


#2

A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ’s sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: “Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . .” (Luke 13:34)
Two Turtle Doves
The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God’s self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world
Three French Hens
The Three Theological Virtues: 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)


#3

Four Calling Birds
The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God’s reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ
Five Gold Rings
The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch: 1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity’s sinful failure and God’s response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.
Six Geese A-laying
The six days of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1).
Seven Swans A-swimming
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11)


#4

Eight Maids A-milking
The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. (Matthew 5:3-10)
Nine Ladies Dancing
The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit: 1) love, 2) joy, 3) peace, 4) patience, 5) kindness,
6) generosity, 7) faithfulness, 8) gentleness, and 9) self-control. (Galatians 5:22)

Ten Lords A-leaping
The ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God’s name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17
Eleven Pipers Piping
The eleven Faithful Apostles: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James. (Luke 6:14-16). The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the Romans.


#5

Twelve Drummers Drumming
The twelve points of doctrine in the [Apostle’s Creed](“http://www.cresourcei.org/creedsearly.html#Apostles’ Creed”): 1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave]. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the holy catholic Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting.
sorry it took so many posts, and if many have seen it before. but i’m sure there might be a few out there who might find it interesting.


#6

Interesting, yes, but also not true. snopes.com/holidays/christmas/12days.asp


#7

this is what was on the web site, i found it on
"
The popular song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is usually seen as simply a nonsense song for children. However, some have suggested that it is a song of Christian instruction dating to the 16th century religious wars in England, with hidden references to the basic teachings of the Faith. They contend that it was a mnemonic device to teach the catechism to youngsters. The “true love” mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The “me” who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the “days” represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn.
However, many have questioned the historical accuracy of this origin of the song The Twelve Days of Christmas. It seems that some have made an issue out of trying to debunk this as an “urban myth,” some in the name of historical accuracy and some out of personal agendas. There is little “hard” evidence available either way. Some church historians affirm this account as basically accurate, while others point out apparent historical discrepancies. However, the “evidence” on both sides is mostly in logical deduction and probabilities. One internet site devoted to debunking hoaxes and legends says that, “there is no substantive evidence to demonstrate that the song ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ was created or used as a secret means of preserving tenets of the Catholic faith, or that this claim is anything but a fanciful modern day speculation …” What is omitted is that there is no “substantive evidence” that will disprove it either."
Also the person on the radio, who mentioned this is a secular historian. ( i think he is even a atheist)
so i’ll the stance that it is true, as there is nothing to to say it isn’t . and besides that site is way off, i would like to see him go tell people he is off to sunday mass if he lived in england at that time. and not to mention, i would probably be the worst apologetist in the world, and i could pick holes in just about everything it stated.
p.s the site i got the song off isn’t a catholic site.


#8

misterX:

Use some common sense. Why would Catholics have to use an obscure song like this to teach their children Catholicism, when every single one of the “hidden doctrines” of the song are also held by the vast majority of Protestants?

C’mon . . .

:rolleyes:


#9

[quote=misterX]…so i’ll the stance that it is true, as there is nothing to to say it isn’t . and besides that site is way off, i would like to see him go tell people he is off to sunday mass if he lived in england at that time. and not to mention, i would probably be the worst apologetist in the world, and i could pick holes in just about everything it stated.
p.s the site i got the song off isn’t a catholic site.
[/quote]

Well, it was in our Sunday Bulletin 3 Advents ago and these covers come from Liguori Press… And, incidently, I did find a copy of this on a Catholic Site (don’t remeber)…copied it for my 7 th Grade CCD Class and have to say it was an excellent teaching tool for around the Christmas Season…kids are so preoccupied then…:twocents:


#10

[quote=Sacramentalist]misterX:

Use some common sense. Why would Catholics have to use an obscure song like this to teach their children Catholicism, when every single one of the “hidden doctrines” of the song are also held by the vast majority of Protestants?

C’mon . . .

:rolleyes:
[/quote]

If it happened in the 16th century, that would be about the time that the Church of England was formed and catholicism was outlawed, but even that wouldn’t quite make sense as the article of faith listed are also held by the Anglicans too, in fact there are a lot of faiths that hold to the articles of faith that are listed above, so they aren’t specifically Catholic.

What would make more sense is that someone decided to use the song to help them remember things for their religion class.


#11

If it happened in the 16th century, that would be about the time that the Church of England was formed and catholicism was outlawed, but even that wouldn’t quite make sense as the article of faith listed are also held by the Anglicans too, in fact there are a lot of faiths that hold to the articles of faith that are listed above, so they aren’t specifically Catholic.

Isn’t this exactly what I said?


#12

I’m not even so sure that the idea of there being “12 Days of Christmas” is even a Catholic concept. Christmas as an Octave, and the Christmas season itself is some 40 days, ending on Candlemas, February 2.

I could be wrong, but isn’t it Protestants who number the days of Christmas as 12, having for the most part done away with octaves and Candlemas?


#13

[quote=Sacramentalist]Isn’t this exactly what I said?
[/quote]

Yup, I was agreeing with you, but I forgot to mention that. :slight_smile:


#14

[quote=Sacramentalist]I’m not even so sure that the idea of there being “12 Days of Christmas” is even a Catholic concept. Christmas as an Octave, and the Christmas season itself is some 40 days, ending on Candlemas, February 2.

I could be wrong, but isn’t it Protestants who number the days of Christmas as 12, having for the most part done away with octaves and Candlemas?
[/quote]

Why does the season of Epiphany begin on Jan. 6th?


#15

I wasn’t aware Epiphany had a season.

Maybe in the olden days it, too, had an octave?


#16

[quote=Sacramentalist]I’m not even so sure that the idea of there being “12 Days of Christmas” is even a Catholic concept. Christmas as an Octave, and the Christmas season itself is some 40 days, ending on Candlemas, February 2.

I could be wrong, but isn’t it Protestants who number the days of Christmas as 12, having for the most part done away with octaves and Candlemas?
[/quote]

Isn’t epiphany 12 days after Christmas day?


#17

[quote=Sacramentalist]I’m not even so sure that the idea of there being “12 Days of Christmas” is even a Catholic concept. Christmas as an Octave, and the Christmas season itself is some 40 days, ending on Candlemas, February 2.

I could be wrong, but isn’t it Protestants who number the days of Christmas as 12, having for the most part done away with octaves and Candlemas?
[/quote]

Twelve days of Christmas Christmas to Epiphany… Not sure of Catholic origin…but this is where I found it…:confused:


#18

The other issue I would take is that there is no obvious link between the elements of the song, e.g. seven swans a-swimming and eight maids-a-milking, and the things they supposedly represent. Let’s see - seven swans-a-swimming - do I remember the seven gifts of the holy spirit? the seven corporal works of mercy? the seven sacraments? the seven churches of Revelation? seven dolors of Mary? Seven major basilicas? seven last words from the cross? seven deadly sins? seven last plauges? seven archangels? (or maybe the three French hens are the three named archangels Gabriel, Michael, Raphael…)

anyway, it seems like a poor memory aid if you ask me. Especially since the things cover such a wide cross-section of BIble and theology - there’s no sort of thematic relationship. And most of these numbers (especially 3, 7, and 12) could represent so many different things in the Bible and in Catholic theology.

the one that gives it away if you ask me is the 11th day - the only thing they could come up with for 11 is “11 faithful disciples”. That, if you ask me, is really shoe-horned in there - it’s not something of great theological significance. If you read Acts, they appoint St. Matthias to replace Judas so the number stays at 12.


#19

[quote=Sacramentalist]misterX:

Use some common sense. Why would Catholics have to use an obscure song like this to teach their children Catholicism, when every single one of the “hidden doctrines” of the song are also held by the vast majority of Protestants?

C’mon . . .

:rolleyes:
[/quote]

why did they do it like they did? i don’t know. but they did.


#20

[quote=Sacramentalist]I’m not even so sure that the idea of there being “12 Days of Christmas” is even a Catholic concept. Christmas as an Octave, and the Christmas season itself is some 40 days, ending on Candlemas, February 2.

I could be wrong, but isn’t it Protestants who number the days of Christmas as 12, having for the most part done away with octaves and Candlemas?
[/quote]

perhaps thats why sung about the 12 days of christmas? why couldn’t a catholic use it, not as if the 40 day thing is a religious thing in itself either. really you people haven’t come up with one good argument to dissprove this theroy.


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